Why Transitional Jobs Can Help Addicts Get Back to Work After Rehab

Transitional Jobs

Finding work after rehab isn’t always easy, but meaningful work can be important for recovery.  Here’s a 3-step formula for transitional employment, to get back to work after rehab.

Transitional Defined

Transitional jobs are defined as, “Time-limited subsidized work experiences that help individuals who are chronically unemployed and have barriers to employment establish a work history and develop skills to access unsubsidized employment and progress in the workplace.”

What that means is, transitional jobs:

  • Pay a wage.
  • Help you establish a work history.
  • Do not necessarily require that you already have a skill/may provide on-the-job training.
  • Should not discriminate based on an addiction and/or criminal history.

In several states, legislation seeks to improve hiring practices for individuals with criminal backgrounds, but since discrimination can still exist, a transitional job can help you overcome such barriers.  You can develop new skills, make meaningful connections, and even possibly transition to full-time, longer-term employment even if it feels like your past will follow you.

1. Choose Work You Want to Do

Jobs sometimes appear scarce, but the truth is opportunity exists.  Going to employment fairs, working with a service or a temp agency, or connecting with a career advisor, you may find jobs that not everyone knows about.  Internet resources can be incredible, but it also sometimes takes time to post a job online, and word-of-mouth could fill it faster.

So, let people know you are looking forward work and what type of work you can do, want to do, or are willing to learn.

2. Choose a Supportive Work Environment

Getting back to work after rehab, your sobriety should be your priority. You need work for a paycheck, but also to feel like you are contributing to and creating a future you can be proud of.  If you land a job with critical, mean, and negative people or people who do not support your sobriety, you may compromise the future you are trying to create.

Give people a chance to be their own personal best, and do try to use internal channels to fix problems you perceive in an organization, but if the situation does not resolve you are better off getting work elsewhere.

Work you find meaningful, which contributes in a way in which you feel you can be helpful, with people who support you, can make sobriety so much easier.

3. Continue to Work on Yourself

We all have bad habits of some variety.  Maybe we’re too self-critical or obnoxiously self-assured.  Maybe we are a terrible listener or have difficulty heeding our own advice.  We are all a work in progress, and identifying an area in which we can grow is an important step toward improvement (not to mention, a skill learned in rehab).

Not every bad habit even interferes at work, but some do.

Overcoming bad habits in the workplace will contribute to your long-term success and happiness, not to mention strengthening your sobriety.

Persist, Persist

Author Dan Zadra said that “Worry is a terrible waste of the imagination.”  Work may not come easily.  Transitional jobs may end.  Volunteering may be financially impossible, or work may not pay a living wage.

Success and failure are not mutually exclusive: the most successful people often have many examples of past failures.

What defines success is more about persistence on the journey, rather than a particular path to get there.  So set aside worry and imagine new ways to persist, new avenues to explore and more solutions to the problems that present themselves.

Persist on the road and do you best to enjoy the journey.  That’s how we grow.

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